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18

Red Wattlebird

(Anthochaera carunculata)
Alternate name(s): "Gillbird", "Wattled Honeyeater", "Barking Bird", "Mutton-bird*"
Aboriginal name(s): "woodwardi": "wodjalok", "durdal", "doongorok", "djidero", "djoongong*" (WA)

Size: 32-36 cm
Weight: 85-130 g

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Red Wattlebird at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "carunculata"

Not the photos you want? Or are you after even better quality? Have a look here .

ADULT

Frontal view of a Red Wattlebird in a eucalypt tree
[Manilla, NSW, July 2010]

Close-up lateral portrait of a Red Wattlebird
[Mudgee, NSW, December 2015]

Close-up lateral view of a Red Wattlebird (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[South West Rocks, NSW, July 2017]

Different lateral view of a Red Wattlebird (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[South West Rocks, NSW, July 2017]

Lateral view of a Red Wattlebird hopping off its perch (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, June 2018]

Lateral view of a Red Wattlebird calling (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)

Near-dorsal view of a Red Wattlebird
[Manilla, NSW, July 2010]

Near-dorsal view of a Red Wattlebird issuing its distinctive raucous call
[Manilla, NSW, July 2010]

Dorsal view of a Red Wattlebird from straight behind
[Oxley Wild Rivers NP, NSW, January 2008]

The same Red Wattlebird as above, now with its head turned
[Oxley Wild Rivers NP, NSW, January 2008]

Distant dorsal view of a Red Wattlebird flying from the ground into a tree
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2014]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Juvenile Red Wattlebird feeding in a bottlebrush tree (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Swifts Creek, East Gippsland, VIC, October 2014]

Juvenile Red Wattlebird feeding in a bottlebrush tree (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Swifts Creek, East Gippsland, VIC, October 2014]

This lateral view of a juvenile Red Wattlebird shows the similarity of its facial mask with a Little Friarbird's
[Coonabarabran, NSW, October 2015]

Fledgling Red Wattlebird that has fallen out of a tree, but then took off again without any damage done (photo courtesy of C. Lawrence)
[Canberra, ACT, October 2006]

Race "woodwardi"

ADULT

Frontal view of a Red Wattlebird (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Mundaring, 35 km East of Perth, WA, December 2014]

Frontal view of a Red Wattlebird, different posture (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Mundaring, 35 km East of Perth, WA, December 2014]

Frontal view of a Red Wattlebird, now with its head turned (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Mundaring, 35 km East of Perth, WA, December 2014]

Near-dorsal view of a Red Wattlebird (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Wave Rock, near Hyden, WA, March 2017]

Race "clelandi"

ADULT

Partly obscured near-frontal view of a Red Wattlebird (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Karatta, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

Partly obscured near-ventral view of a Red Wattlebird (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Karatta, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Jul - Dec Eggs: 2 - 3 Incubation period: 15-16 days Fledging age: ?

Red Wattlebirds can breed most months, with a core breeding period as given in the table above.

Nest

"bungobittah", "malunna" = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Basket Material: Twigs, bark, with fine grass and feather lining Height above ground: 3 - 20 m

Red Wattlebird nest in a fork in a live eucalypt - note the bird's tail sticking out of the nest almost vertically; S. Grey's help with these observations is greatly appreciated
[Coonabarabran, NSW, November 2018]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 33 x 21 mm Colour: Creamy, with brown speckles Shape: Tapered oval

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Territorial/communal Mobility: Partly migratory/dispersive Elementary unit: Pair/flock

 

Red Wattlebirds can become tame enough to visit people's gardens and beg for food. They are territorial, but can feed in areas with flowering trees in large numbers.

Red Wattlebird begging for food
[Near Dorrigo NP, NSW, August 2009]

The ruffled feathers at this Red Wattlebird's rump indicate that, after taking a bath, is has been using the secretion from its uropygial gland to start oiling its plumage
[Eulah Creek, NSW, February 2014]

This Red Wattlebird was seen by us on a TV antenna in suburban Newcastle, NSW
[Gateshead, Newcastle, NSW, October 2014]

Food, Diet

To the best of our knowledge Red Wattlebirds feed mostly on nectar, but they also take insects. They profit from the creation of urban gardens and parks with flowering plants.

Red Wattlebird feeding in a lemon-scented eucalypt tree (Eucalyptus citriodora)
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2014]

The Red Wattlebird above is feeding on the nectar of eucalypt (citriodora) flowers as displayed here

Red Wattlebird feeding on the nectar of a grevillea robusta (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Swifts Creek, East Gippsland, VIC, November 2013]

This Red Wattlebird still has a "sticky beak"
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, October 2011]

Red Wattlebird foraging in an eucalypt tree (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Stanthorpe, QLD, March 2015]

Red Wattlebird taking psyllids (the twig on which the bird is sitting is infested with them)
[Dunn's Swamp, Wollemi NP, NSW, October 2016]

Red Wattlebird using its long, rough tongue to lap up water
[Coonabarabran, NSW, October 2015]

Red Wattlebird using its long, rough tongue to lap up water
[Coonabarabran, NSW, October 2015]

Red Wattlebird using its long, rough tongue to lap up water
[Coonabarabran, NSW, October 2015]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

redwatt_20140411.mp3 carunculata
(NW NSW)
Contact call (male) © MD
redwatt_20180921_4.m4a carunculata
(NW NSW)
Territorial call? (male) © MD
redwatt_20180921_5.m4a carunculata
(NW NSW)
Territorial calls? (Pair Q&A) © MD
redwatt_20150124.mp3 carunculata
(NW NSW)
Territorial calls? (Pair Q&A) © MD
redwatt_20150124_3.mp3 carunculata
(NW NSW)
Territorial calls? (Pair Q&A) © MD
redwatt_20140506.mp3 carunculata
(NW NSW)
Male defending food source © MD
redwatt_20140508.mp3 carunculata
(NW NSW)
Warning call? (food comp.) © MD
redwatt_20140508_2.mp3 carunculata
(NW NSW)
Fighting (over food) © MD
redwatt_20140508_3.mp3 carunculata
(NW NSW)
Fighting (with Blue-faced Honeyeater) © MD
redwatt_20150124_2.mp3 carunculata
(NW NSW)
Various © MD
redwatt_20171022.m4a carunculata
(NW NSW)
? (2x distant female; + a fly) © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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